When it comes to romance, I’ve found again and again that fate tends to have an unusual sense of timing. So it was back in 2001, as my year-long stint in Southern Illinois winded down and I connected with local bachelor Steve.
We met about a month before I was scheduled to return to New York — and he captured my heart right away. I now Open The Vault and take you back to November of ’01…
December 20th, 2001
Well, my hope to have a little romance before leaving the Midwest has been realized in the biggest way.
His name is Steve, and he is smart, cute, funny, affectionate and giving. And the chemistry between us has made me delay my return date to New York three times!
It all started just before Thanksgiving, when my neighbor’s family — Steve’s parents — invited me over for dinner. Tired from a hard workout the day before,
I decided to keep it simple — no makeup except concealer, a t-shirt and cargo pants.
I ended up regretting my casual mode as soon as they introduced me to their stepson Steve. Several trips to the bathroom didn’t make me feel better, but the undeniable chemistry between Steve and I did.
Conversation flowed freely during dinner, and I found myself thinking how nice it was to be setting across from a cute, personable man for the first time in ages.
After eating, we continued talking. Somehow it came up that I’d never seen all of the house, so I suggested Steve give me a tour. As I followed him up the stairs, I could feel sparks in the air. Needless to say, I forgot about my naked face at this point.
Back in the living room, Steve and I talked about everything from travel to TV shows, laughing often and communicating well — until the subject of Thanksgiving came up.
I asked him about his plans. Steve hadn’t mentioned her once all evening, but he suddenly admitted–
I was both annoyed and disappointed, so I left shortly thereafter and figured that was that.
Until ten days later when I came home from work to find not one but two messages from Steve. The first one was endearingly nervous.
“I hope we can go out for drinks,” he said. “But if not, that’s okay too.”
In the second voicemail, he left his number — after forgetting to do so in the first but telling me to call him. Never in my wildest dreams could I have predicted what came next.
* * *
The connection between Steve and I quickly blossomed into love — a love that, like my first, would be tested by geography.